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Climbing gym in Hood River, OR?
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JSVD


Feb 17, 2015, 10:02 AM
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Climbing gym in Hood River, OR?
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Hey everyone.. Long story short we are thinking about opening a climbing gym in Hood River, OR. We'd like your opinion on if this area would support a gym.

For those who don't know the town - Hood River is a very active tourist town. The population is only 7000, but spikes to ~20000 in the summer. This population spike is from a lot of kiteboarders, windsurfers, and other outdoor enthusiasts comming for the area. We know that the gym would do well for the 6 touristy months.. The question is the other half of the year.

As I said the town itself only has ~7000 residents. They are also highly active and there are a good amount of kids. Our plan is memberships based revenue in the summer, and programs in the winter.

Long story short we're looking for opinions.. Any are appreciated. If you have experience owning, operating, or advising a gym please include that in your reply.

Thanks!


petsfed


Feb 17, 2015, 5:33 PM
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Re: [JSVD] Climbing gym in Hood River, OR? [In reply to]
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You're gonna have wildly disparate user groups depending on the season. A lot of locals training through the winter, a lot of one-off users in the summer. Fortunately for your business plan, there isn't a lot of destination climbing in the Gorge. Doubly so because the late fall into early spring seems pretty miserable from an outdoor climbing perspective. That said, the gym/real-rock dichotomy can be murder on your business model if people wind up viewing your business as a training facility and not a recreation facility.

I am glad that you're moving forward on this, because Hood River was one of the spots that I thought was just crying for a gym. I was trying to build up some business management experience (I have a lot of gym operations experience, but nothing with real decision making power) before I tried to do exactly what you're doing, in the same location, so kudos!


healyje


Feb 18, 2015, 9:39 PM
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Re: [JSVD] Climbing gym in Hood River, OR? [In reply to]
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Lived there from '87-'93 during the windsurfing boom/bust. Then there was a seasonal group of climbers who rarely climbed there, basically no resident climbing population, and no real developed areas outside of Pete's. Fast forward twenty years and there is a resident climbing population who have developed a dozen or so crags in the Gorge, around Hood and on down to Trout.

That said, Bend has a hard time sustaining a gym and that should speak volumes by itself.


jdvelasco


Dec 8, 2015, 10:16 PM
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Re: [JSVD] Climbing gym in Hood River, OR? [In reply to]
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From what I've heard, a couple groups have tried to get a co-op style model as well as a private model off the ground over the past few years. Folks have told me that the population of the city is too small, while others say that the vast majority of Hood River and the surrounding area (White Salmon), though small, would patronize the establishment. The uncertainty of demand and the small market make it hard to convince investors and lenders.

The sustainability of the business would depend primarily on a membership base, followed by programming. With a population of 7,400, the gym would have to be small enough to be sustainable.

In my opinion, success would hinge upon youth/family programming and another income stream, like a cafe, to encourage year-round patronage and a diversity of user groups to purchase memberships. As annoying as it can be, additional fitness programming would help.

Let me know your thoughts and/or private message me if you'd like to chat about it. I love this stuff and have been researching and planning for a while. There are lots of resources out there these days for aspiring gym owners. I'd love to share.


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